The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has disclosed thet the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Government will name the recently completed Warri Railway Station after the immediate past Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan.
The minister, who described Buhari as a “shy person” who dislikes public show, said the completed Itakpe-Warri rail line would have been commissioned by the president if not for the coronavirus pandemic.
“Now the project is ready for Commissioning but because of Coronavirus everything is on hold. And you know the President is a shy person. He doesn’t like public show,” he said.
“What he said is that let’s just focus on our achievements and by the time we leave office people will see what we have done but some of us are insisting that we commission some of our projects. We have decided to name it after former President Goodluck Jonathan.”
Amaechi noted that government took the decision of naming the line after the former president in recognition of his administration’s tremendous contribution to the project.
“When I was appointed the minister for transportation, the president warned ‘do not start new contracts, go and complete old ones.
“We met Itakpe-Warri rail line which had been in existence for 34 years uncompleted; it would have been the first standard gauge line in Africa if it was completed.
“Based on the president’s instruction, I did a memo; I thought we will borrow money from China but the president refused. He said we should use our internal funds to execute the project.”
In 1987, work began on the line, which was conceived as a route for transporting iron ore from mines in Itakpe, Kogi State to steelworks at Ajaokuta.
However, the project was abandoned for several years before the current administration revisited and completed it.
The line covers twelve stations, two of them situated between Itakpe, Ajaokuta and Warri.
The stations are Itakpe; Eganiy; Adogbe; Itogbo; Aghenebode; Uromi; Egehen; Igbanke; Agbor; Abraka; Okpara and Ujewu stations.
Amaechi said plan is in the pipeline to establish a yard for fabricating and producing rail equipment at the Warri Rail Station.
Meanwhile, the minister had also revealed that the ongoing construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan railway project has been put on hold due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
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